I am setting up a Kickstarter Fund for the novel I have been previewing on this blog the past few months, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
If you have been keeping up with Hector, Red, or She on my blog and would like to fund the resulting combination of them all that forms a creepy new novella featuring a unique story of loss and tragedy that will keep you guessing until the end, even just a dollar, leave a comment with your email address and I will send you details to the account! [Take a breath, that was an impressive run on sentence!]
Oh, and if you’d like to fund any particular chapter you’ve seen featured on this blog, you can! For $50, you’ll receive one of the first copies of the novel with that chapter signed!
Have you ever looked outside when it just begins to rain, when the clouds have clearly just that very second become too heavy to hold up what they have collected for so long, when the earth just sort of stops, takes a second, and releases?
That’s what it was like that morning, it was one huge, beautiful, calming release she was witnessing. Only instead of gentle raindrops, there was silent ash falling and bright bits of fire just big enough to make out in the distance.
It was funny, after everything she had been scared of, over-thought, and worried about in her life, she was oddly calm. She understood exactly what was happening, and all she could keep thinking was how beautiful it actually was, how ironically gorgeous the end would be.
As she thought all of this she realized that she heard a melodious symphony of silent screams erupt around her, the new sounds more soothing than any Mozart she had ever heard, more hypnotic than most childhood nursery rhymes. She was entranced.
It was hard to pull herself out and away from the event entirely, in that moment she was absolutely alive and enthralled, and she felt something she had never felt before.
Fact: If you think you have lived, truly lived life to the fullest, right now, as you are reading this in your comfortable couch or bed, you haven’t. No, not even close. You have not truly lived until the prospect of living longer is taken away. When your time is limited, something inside you wakes up. It is not fear. It is not worry. It is life.
Hector screamed loudly enough for her to finally see him, to feel him around her and grab him up quickly.
She realized he had not felt the same as she had, he was too young, he was too scared. She immediately felt grief, not at all for herself or the world, but for Hector, so very young and inexperienced. She felt altogether guilty for bringing such an innocent and lively soul onto this planet just for him to be taken off of it, not even half the experiences she had had in her past under his belt yet. She felt angry.
Angry and alive are two feelings you need to be cautious of when they mix together; like a well-made rum and coke, they are dangerous, especially when you have little other options and no existing fear remaining.
She walked Hector to the kitchen, she grabbed the lunch she had just made, she threw it on a plate, and she told him to grab as much water as he could, as she herself grabbed a bottle of wine left unopened for a special occasion, a half bottle of whiskey, and the remainder of her and her fiance’s ‘party vodka’. She glanced down at the collection. Though she couldn’t argue the alcoholic tendencies in her coming out clearly in that moment, the vodka truly wasn’t for partying, it was for sterilizing and cleaning if necessary.
She told Hector to head to the basement, quickly, yet still calmly, stuffing the alcohol and water bottles Hector had dropped behind him into the still halfway packed suitcase in the corner of the kitchen. She was lazy with her last business trip, and it was largely convenient to move and pack the rolling case in this particular moment.
The sandwich lunch she had only just finished making before the event was set on top of the bottles, careful not to get any mayo or mustard on the sides of the suitcase, as she looked around for more.
She knew there was a stockpile down below for ‘those crazy situations’ that he, her fiance, never gave into thinking about, her paranoid theories about the end of the world always making him chuckle (she could only hope he was chuckling somewhere now along with her), but she felt she needed so much more, and at the same time so much less.
Hector was stark still staring at her as she grabbed the carton of milk, the two remaining loaves of bread, the brownies her fiance had made them all (after much begging from Hector and herself) the night before. This wasn’t enough, but she had no idea what her time frame was. She filed the remainder of the suitcase with the two bags of cat and dog food her animals had been eating on for about a month now, as well as all the lunch meat, hot dogs, and microwave bacon she could grab from the fridge drawer.
She zipped up the side of the suitcase and ushered Hector down the stairs, instructing him to the panic door as she turned around one last time and went to the deep freeze for a carefully wrapped chunk of the frozen hog they had saved up for the month before, and also for the family photo album on the kitchen table. Stupid, to waste one last second on something that will burn up anyway, but she needed it.
Hector was holding the door to the ‘hidden’ bunker open, waiting for her with tears in his eyes yet at the same time a stern ‘i’m okay mom, I’m a big boy’ face on. She loved him more than words would ever be able to express. He was always such a brave, intelligent, amazing little human, no matter what he was doing in life.
She ran to the door and threw the suitcase in, told him to wait on the couch and shut the door as she went to round up the two cats and one dog and anything else she could think of along the way.
As she sprinted back up the stairs she caught a glimpse of their yard, completely gray and slightly burning, with sounds she had been blocking out suddenly coming to her as the house began to shake.
She couldn’t stop looking at the odd beauty of it all, so she opened the curtains wider as she haphazardly threw a cat under her feet toward the stairs. She watched as gorgeously unique snowflake ashes covered the hummingbird feeders she had forgotten to fill this morning, and the neighbor’s tree catch on fire as the dog and remaining cat were ushered to the basement with her feet.
Hector yelled for her and she yelled back to let the animals in, something she may regret when food gets scarce, a voice in the back of her head was saying.
For one last lusciously long moment she opened the front door, as she always did when the breeze was just right, smells of fall leaves or spring blossoms always wafting in, and smelled the sulfuric mess that was now her world.
She watched the cows in the pasture across from their home stampede away from the fires building along the fences and wondered how they would survive the fire or the debris. Just as these thoughts entered her mind they exited, a youngling across the way crushed by what looked like a falling boulder.
Suddenly all the silent beauty was gone, the sounds were all harsher than they were before, and time wasn’t going by slow at all.
She wiped a silent tear she hadn’t noticed and grabbed a couple books, her cell phone and charger (a lot of good that would do with no power or signal), and Hector’s favorite blanket and a teddy bear. She bounded for the steps and knocked for Hector to let her in the bunker, just in time to hear another boulder hit something close, as well as remember her shiny engagement ring sitting by the sink in the kitchen.
Angry, alive, and empty. That’s what she was now. And that was the most dangerous combination of them all.
She, quickly glancing at Hector, breathed deeply, smiled broadly, and lied as gallantly as she could, ‘It’s okay, we’re going to be okay’.
(Imagine this photo is on the tightly fitting sleeve of the printed version of the novel, it works out better that way).